It’s cold here in the Pacific Northwest and just today it really started to get me down. Creating something in the kitchen (unlike budget planning and sales/marketing work) always lifts my spirits. These bars will give you a serious boost and keep you going while you chase down tax documents or write marketing plans or get frustrated with your children or just need a snack or breakfast or dessert. They might also help you use up bits and pieces–I finally used up some golden raisins leftover from holiday baking last year in this batch.
Type of seeds, nuts, spices, nut/seed butters are all up to you. These are not very sweet and only a little crunchy around the edges though if you made them thinner and baked them a little longer they would be more so. I really like the chew and that they actually stick together . . . no trail of oats and bits following you around with these.
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Chewy Granola Bars
You could add ground cinnamon or ginger or instant espresso powder.
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)
1 cup nuts, roughly chopped (I used mostly almonds)
½ cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 ½ cups dried fruit, chopped up a bit (I used mostly golden raisins, some dates and a handful of dried mulberries)
2 tablespoons fruit juice (I used 1/2 a grapefruit’s worth)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon almond butter (tahini, etc.)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey (a little more if you like a sweeter bar)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9 x 13″ pan with parchment paper.
Since my dried fruit was really dry I squeezed half a grapefruit over it and let that sit while I toasted the oats, etc. I liked the little added tartness it added but if your dried fruit is not so dry you can probably skip this.
Spread oats, nuts and seeds on a sheet pan and bake for 6-8 minutes until toasty smelling and the oats are a bit golden. Dump into a bowl to cool.
Turn oven down to 350.
Warm nut/seed butter and honey in a small saucepan until it’s nice and runny.
Put (somewhat) cooled oat mixture in food processor with coconut, dried fruit + juice, cocoa and salt and pulse a few times. Add almond butter honey mixture and pulse again until well mixed but still has plenty of texture. Spread evenly in pan and press down evenly with a lightly oiled hand and bake ate 350 for 18-20 minutes. Partially cool then cut and store.